Two Tone Stained Telephone Table Makeover

By Bruce Johnson

Taryn of Design, Dining, and Diapers shares her experience at the Renegade Craft Fair in Seattle with Bruce Johnson. See how she created a beautiful and personalized telephone table with Minwax® Water Based Wood Stains.

If you’ve been following me for while, you know that I love working with wood stain. I’m a stain girl. I typically stain projects versus paint them. Just my preference. I love seeing the natural wood grains shine through and I love the rustic look you can get with stains. Anything from a rich Dark Walnut for a polished look, to a weathered gray for a more farmhouse look. Which is why you can find all shades of Minwax® stacked in my garage at all times.

A few weeks ago the team from Minwax® came to Seattle for the Renegade Craft Fair and I had a chance to hang out with them for a bit and chat with Bruce, the ultimate stain master. I learned so much from him and I can’t wait to try out all the new techniques I heard about. After they event they sent me home with this adorable “Telephone Table” to play around with. It started out as a natural wood and I used the Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain to give it a personalized look.

Finished two tone telephone table

Minwax® recently launched their Made With Love campaign that’s all about giving a personalized look and feel to your pieces. Whether it’s refinishing a family heirloom, giving a personalized gift or making something meaningful for your home. I refinished this piece while keeping those things in mind. I wanted something personalized so I used tones that reflect my personal style and then added a personalized graphic to the top (keep scrolling).

Table with vintage bicycle knob

I switched out the basic wood knob and replaced it with a fun vintage bicycle drawer pull for an added touch of detail.

Close of table top

And here is where I personalized my piece. To some they are just number, but I actually used our area code to create a more industrial style for the “telephone table”. 🙂

Two tone telephone table finished

This piece was fun to create and I loved working with the water based stains. It was my first time using them so I thought I’d give a little tutorial on how I got this look.

Wood conditioner and sanding

 

Since the table was in pieces and hadn’t been put together yet, I laid all the pieces out first and worked on them before assembling the table. This gives everything a really great all-over stain. It started with the Minwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner and let it dry. After this dries you will want to gently sand the surface down with a higher grit sand paper. 220+ works great.

Wood stain colors

Minwax® has TONS of beautiful water based stains to choose from. They even have lots of vibrant colors. But since you all know me I only work with neutrals and was drawn to their Sea & Sky color palette. For this piece I used a combination of the Pure White and the Slate. Also, the Water Based Stains need to be mixed at the hardware store. So you will pick up the tint base and take it to the paint counter to be mixed.

Staining the telephone table

I love the subtle look of the pure white. It really gives it a nice white washed look. I did 3 coats on my piece. I brushed the stain on and then you can use a paper towel to wipe off any excess stain.

Stencil and Minwax Express Color

For the top of the piece and the drawer, I used the Slate color. I will say, I expected this color to look a lot more gray and it turned out to be a lighter brown in my opinion. Maybe if you used multiple coats it would darken it and pull those gray tones out a little more.

For the personalized touch, I used my Silhouette to create a quick stencil and then used Onyx over it. Here is tip, if you are wanting to put stencils over stain, the water based stains are the way to go. When working with oil based stains the adhesive has a hard time sticking, but with water based it worked perfect.

To finish the piece, give it a coat of Minwax® Wipe-On Poly. It sealed it beautifully.

Everyone seems to know Bruce from Minwax®, he is so incredibly knowledgeable and talented and it’s always great to chat with him. I heard him speak at a conference a few years ago and it was great to get some 1:1 time together to talk stain.

Bruce Johnson at the Renegade Fair

Bruce let me in on a big secret (ok not really a secret) about using Wipe On Poly over chalky paint. It gives it a beautiful finish and you don’t have to use all the elbow grease putting on wax.

Minwax Wood Finishing Cloths

They also just came out with Minwax® Wood Finishing Cloths. These are awesome! They look and feel just like a small container of baby wipes. They come with 8 wipes of stain and they would cover a small piece of furniture. For only $8.99 this is a great way to go if you need just a little bit of stain.

Wood conditioner sample

We also chatted about the importance of using a wood conditioner as it helps the stain and really brings those wood tones out.

Minwax Water-Based Wood Stain

And if you are interested in working with the Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain, here is what they look like so you can spot them on the shelf.

Facebook Live at the Renegade Fair

Bruce and I also did a little Facebook Live session at the event, so click to view our chat!

What are your favorite ways to use stain?

Check out Taryn and Design, Dining, and Diapers for more DIY projects, home decor, seasonal and kid’s crafts and gluten-free recipes. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest for more. 

About Bruce Johnson

Author-craftsman Bruce Johnson has introduced millions of do-it-yourselfers, craftspeople and antique collectors to the world of wood finishing and antique restoration. As the official spokesperson for Minwax®, the leading manufacturer of wood finishing and wood care products, Bruce motivates people to take the initiative to beautify their surroundings. Through his many books, magazine articles and columns, as well as frequent appearances on national television talk shows, Johnson is recognized as an authority in the do-it-yourself community. Appearing on PBS, HGTV, The Discovery Channel, and currently hosting “DIY Woodworking” and “Build A Log Cabin”, on the DIY cable network, Johnson has brought the illustrious craft of wood finishing to the forefront of the American home.

An expert in wood refinishing, antique restoration, and home improvement, Bruce has published more than a dozen books on these topics, including Fifty Simple Ways To Save Your House, The Wood Finisher, The Weekend Refinisher, and The Official Identification and Price Guide to the Arts and Crafts Movement. For more than 20-years, he penned an antique refinishing advice column, “Knock on Wood,” which ran in dozens of antique/collectibles publications. Currently, he writes a column on Arts & Crafts for Style 1900 magazine.

A rare combination of craftsman and journalist, Johnson began his career as a high school English teacher, but left teaching to set up his “Knock on Wood Antique Repair & Restoration” shop. He spent the next 10 years as a full-time professional refinisher, but eventually returned to writing. Yet, Johnson says, he won’t ever be without a workbench and a couple of refinishing projects down in the basement.

Johnson is also the founder and director of the Arts and Crafts Conference and Antique Show held every February in Asheville, North Carolina, at the Grove Park Inn. The conference, which includes the largest Arts and Crafts antiques show, attracts more than 1500 Arts and Crafts collectors each year to its many seminars, tours, demonstrations and exhibits. Johnson is proud to have played a role in reviving interest in designers like Gustav Stickley, who founded the Arts and Crafts movement. His latest book, “Grove Park Inn Arts & Crafts Furniture,” was awarded the 2009 Thomas Wolfe Literary Award. These furnishings are treasured by such collectors as Steven Spielberg and Bruce Willis, among many others.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *